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Bitter/Sweet Traditional Story...........

528 Views 7 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  jsavage1963
"Traditional Archery".........not to be overdramatic but it's the single most fun hobby/activity that I have ever tried. Almost equally frustrating at times but without question, well worth the effort. My biggest regret at this point in the game, is that I didn't start it 30 years before I did.

"Bitter/Sweet"..........the sweet part first...

My whole interest in archery started when I was in the fourth grade. That would be WAY back in 1972. My dad pulled an old recurve bow out of some of his junk (along with three wooden arrows equipped with glue-on broad heads). He strung it and of course, I wanted a demo. I vividly remember him pulling it back and shooting it straight up in the air. At 9 years old, that arrow went completely out of sight into the sky. To say I was impressed would be an understatement. At that time we had moved from southwest Arkansas to the gulf coast in Mississippi. It had lengthy gun seasons, hunting with dogs, etc., and archery was not even discussed among those we hunted with. To that point, neither of us ever took a serious interest in archery at any level while living there. Later we moved to the eastern hills of Kentucky, which had and extremely short gun season for deer, but a reasonable archery season. MANY years later (1991) I became interested in hunting more than just what our short gun seasons in Kentucky offered. I bought my first compound bow and haven't slowed down since. It wasn't until a few years ago that I took a strong interest in the traditional aspect of bow hunting. By that time my folks had retired and settled down in the original homeland, "southwest Arkansas" area. While visiting with them one day I reminded my dad of his expo with that old recurve in 1972, and how impressed I had been "back in the day". Would you believe he still had it? He dug around in his shop for a while and pulled it out! He handed it to me and said "enjoy".............along with those same three wooden arrows, broad heads, in an antique Bear quiver! LOL! He told me that he bought all of it used in1960 from a guy in Monticello, Arkansas, for $10!

Soon thereafter I bought a string for it and got it set up. I did some research on it and it's a Ben Pearson "Cougar", 50 lb @ 28", made in 1959, in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. The "recurve" aspect of it is so slight that to look at it you would be tempted to call it a longbow. Super straight handle, very little curve at the tips. Nevertheless, I think it is classified as a "recurve". With my roots beginning in Arkansas, all I ever heard about bows and/or archery while growing up was "Ben Pearson Archery in Pine Bluff, Arkansas". The previously mentioned compound bow in 1991, was a Ben Pearson Spoiler. Loyal to the brand I guess. Ha!

Anyway, I shot the daylights out of that thing. I was trying to shoot 100 arrows/day and did most of the time. I set it up with arrows per advice from several Kentucky traditional shooters. I encountered a problem as the upper limb became slightly weaker and the tiller was out somewhat as compared with the lower limb. But it's accuracy remained consistent. Slow, extremely quiet, but consistent. I purposed in my heart to take 1 deer with it and retire it permanently.

A couple of seasons ago I was in my stand and had a group of four does come out together. Never had that happened to me before. They walked along a trail broad side at roughly 8 to 10 yards. A fifth doe remained 15 more yards in the distant. The lead doe came to a stop as the rest did the same. I was able to silently draw and release my arrow, and hit the lead doe with a complete pass through at 7 yards. The bow was so quiet that the remaining four moved around a bit but didn't freak out. I knocked my second arrow and patiently waiting for all eternity (at least 90 seconds), when one of the other doe gave me a slightly quartering away shot at about 9 - 10 yards. I released again and off she went with 6" of my arrow shaft and feathers waving at me as she left. A MOST rewarding feeling! Not 3 minutes later, the skies opened up and the rain fell. A LOT!!

I found the second shot doe quickly. No blood trail on the first shot so I gave it overnight and recovered it within a 100 yards the next morning in daylight. It had entered behind the rib cage and exited in the white (steep angle down), just behind the opposite shoulder. Not a great shot but recovered her nevertheless. They both field dressed between 90 - 100 lbs.

So of course I couldn't wait to call my Dad (he's 85 now) and tell him the whole thing. He was glad to hear it all and that his old bow had done the deed! And by the way, I DID retire the Cougar..........



And then there's the "Bitter" part of the "Bitter/Sweet" story........

Okay, so you might notice the camo duct tape on the upper limb. That was installed due to some "slight fiberglass splintering/separation".............

So a couple of days after the double kill, I got the wild urge to see just how fast (or slow) the '59 Cougar actually was. I set up my chronograph and launched an arrow through it and it scored 137.1 fps (no wonder it was so quiet)! I usually take a two or three shots to average the speeds, so I knocked another arrow and........yes!.......... the worst that could happen!


To think that the last time I practiced with it, only hours before I shot those two does, it only had three shots left in it!

The Old '59 Cougar is still a trophy to me. It rests permanently on two feet of from the elusive whitetail (that weren't elusive enough) on the wall of my Man Cave. Kind of sad but really, its a good way to retire..........
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Great story thanks for sharing its sad to see that old Pearson broken but at least you have some great memories made so many hunters miss out on the Joy's an rewarding experience hunting with traditional or primitive archery it's a unexplainable feeling
Great story thanks for sharing its sad to see that old Pearson broken but at least you have some great memories made so many hunters miss out on the Joy's an rewarding experience hunting with traditional or primitive archery it's a unexplainable feeling
Thank you for the compliment!
I agree completely. I SO wish I hadn't waited so long to try it. Had it not been for a fellow that relocated here in my area from Wyoming, I still wouldn't know. I met him and he was shooting a Bob Lee recurve while I was shooting an old Ben Pearson Spoiler compound. He gave me a Fred Asbell book "Instinctive Shooting II", and the book plus his nudging, I tried it. Taking a deer with one is as you said, "unexplainable". I'm not against compounds, still have several, but I haven't carried one to the woods for the past few seasons.
Prolly got at least $11 worth of use out of it….
I love tradional bows. Have not been able to it in years though due to my hands. After my recent operation I am hoping to get back into it when they heal. I shoot a take down recurve
Prolly got at least $11 worth of use out of it….
Prolly got at least $11 worth of use out of it….
At least! LOL!
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